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What if All I Want is a Mediocre Life?

By Krista O'Reilly Davi-Digui on Wednesday March 29th, 2017

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How to Make Peace with Who You Are

What if I am mediocre and choose to be at peace with that?

What if I all I want is a small, slow, simple life? What if I am most happy in the space of in between? Where calm lives.

The world is such a noisy place. Loud, haranguing voices lecturing me to hustle, to improve, build, strive, yearn, acquire, compete, and grasp for more. For bigger and better. Sacrifice sleep for productivity. Strive for excellence. Go big or go home. Have a huge impact in the world. Make your life count.

But what if I just don’t have it in me? What if all the striving for excellence leaves me sad, worn out, depleted? Drained of joy. Am I simply not enough?

Simple lifeWhat if all I want is a small, slow, simple life?

What if I Never?

What if I never really amount to anything when I grow up—beyond mom and sister and wife? But these people in my primary circle of impact know they are loved and I would choose them again, given the choice. Can this be enough?

What if I never build an orphanage in Africa but send bags of groceries to people here and there and support a couple of kids through sponsorship? What if I just offer the small gifts I have to the world and let that be enough?

What if I don’t want to write a cookbook or build a six figure business or speak before thousands? But I write because I have something to say and I invest in a small community of women I care about and encourage them to love and care for themselves well. Because bigger isn’t always better and the individual matters. She is enough.

Finding contentmentA simple life can bring you a sense of contentment.

Acceptance of Mediocrity

What if I just accept this mediocre body of mine that is neither big nor small? Just in between. And I embrace that I have no desire to work for rock hard abs or 18% body fat. And I make peace with it and decide that when I lie on my deathbed I will never regret having just been me. Take me or leave me.

What if I am a mediocre home manager, who rarely dusts and mostly maintains order and makes real food but sometimes buys pizza and who is horrified at moments by the utter mess in some areas of her home? Who loves to menu plan and budget but then breaks her own rules and pushes back against rigidity. Who doesn’t care about decorating and fancy things. Whose home is humble but safe.

Am I Enough?

What if I am not cut out for the frantic pace of this society and cannot even begin to keep up? And see so many others with what appears to be boundless energy and stamina but know that I need tons of solitude and calm, an abundance of rest, and swaths of unscheduled time in order to be healthy. Body, spirit, soul healthy. Am I enough?

Humble homeA humble home supports you to create a safe space to restore.

What if I am too religious for some and not spiritual enough for others? Non-evangelistic. Not bold enough. Yet willing to share in quiet ways, in genuine relationships, my deeply rooted faith. And my doubts and insecurities.

This will have to be enough.

Embrace Limitations

And if I have been married 21 years and love my husband more today than yesterday but have never had a fairy tale romance and break the ‘experts’ marriage rules about doing a ton of activities together and having a bunch in common. And we don’t. And we like time apart and time together. Is our marriage good enough?

Alt text hereWhat if I make peace with who I am and what I need.

What if I am a mom who delights in her kids but needs time for herself and sometimes just wants to be first and doesn’t like to play but who hugs and affirms and supports her kids in their passions? A mediocre mom who can never live up to her own expectations of good enough, let alone yours.

What if I embrace my limitations and stop railing against them? Make peace with who I am and what I need and honor your right to do the same. Accept that all I want is a small, slow, simple life. A mediocre life. A beautiful, quiet, gentle life.

I think it is enough.

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Words By Krista O'Reilly Davi-Digui

Originally posted on A Life in Progress

 

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comments

  • Debbie Koehler

    You summed up my feelings precisely!

  • Jamie Cook

    What an incredible piece. I love it. I know I’m not a mach 2 with my hair on fire kind of guy because it just makes me stressed out. Slow and steady wins the race. I was hurt in a work accident back in 1999 and then again in 2001…I have not worked since and have struggled with that. Someone finally helped me understand that even though sometimes you feel better I’m not better. Im broken and have to learn how to do what I want to do with the body I have now. Maybe I should just let go of that struggle and be who I am…Seize the Limitations!

    • LazyFair

      Yes, yes, yes, yes yes….. nothing more to say….

  • Elly51

    All I want is someone to love and who loves me.

  • Joan Heenan

    Beautiful piece. ❤️These words have helped me enormously because they describe my life. Thank you. Xx

  • Ruth Crickard

    Love the gist of the piece, but the author gave it a horrendous dichotomy by choosing the word “mediocre: Of only average quality; not very good.” By using the word, she’s still invoking the cultural implication that slower, non- frenetic, non-greed and fear-driven lifestyles are “less than”. Very poor choice of wording.

    • Alice

      Excellent point. I wonder if she used “mediocre” because that’s how how people who are more driven would see this choice. Because we identify with what she’s expressing, we might use descriptive words like simple, undemanding, organic, or laid-back. But someone viewing it from the other end of the spectrum (which is typically the more socially acceptable end) might very well use mediocre, underachieving, unmotivated, or some other term with a negative connotation.

      • Ruth Crickard

        I assume that’s why she chose that word. However, the way she used it, and her utter lack of placing it in perspective is what is so jarring about it. She’s writing an article supporting a choice of a lifestyle not tied in to the social frenzy, so of course she would need to have to frame that mindset for the readers. But “a small, slow, simple life” is not the same as a “mediocre” life. Perhaps, even though she wants that slow life, she’s her own worst enemy and judges herself for wanting it, hence the “mediocre”.

        • Alice

          I think you’re right. It sounds like she wants to be okay with living this life, but she’s not.

          • Ariana Saraha

            Respectfully disagreeing ~ I think she meant it very tongue-in-cheek 😉

          • LazyFair

            Exactly…. so easy to get….. I also don’t necessarily get that its indeed her desire…. she is the writer and can write from any perspective she chooses!

    • Sami Cohen

      This word used in different context than most would use it is not a big deal because of the intended meaning as used in the article. Criticism unwarranted IMHO.

      • Alice

        “Mediocre” is supposed to mean average, but I think it invokes a stronger feeling than that. (If you were researching a restaurant you were curious about and all the reviewers said it was “mediocre”, I’m pretty sure that would be a dealbreaker.) Yes, I believe the writer used it to mean something like “simple living” or “plain vanilla”, but even in that context, “mediocre” invokes a negative image.

    • LazyFair

      I think the word mediocre relates more to society’s view of a simple life And therefore has a negative connotation. For those of us who get it…. we know a simple life is not mediocre but the ultimate in living… !!

    • Ariana Saraha

      I love the use of the word ~ I think it’s very tongue-in-cheek, and that’s why it makes me smile 🙂 Simple life (and a good sense of humor) for the win!

      • LazyFair

        Exactly the intention of the writer!

  • BiancaH

    It is absolutely enough!! Learning to accept and embrace who we are instead of wanting to be someone we are not is the biggest gift we can offer ourselves! Knowing that going against your true self will not make you happy…. loving yourself enough to allow YOU to be happy?! Of course it’s enough!:)

  • Frances Frederic

    The word ‘mediocre’ generally has negative connotations but in this article, Krista turns that around. Great thought provoking article. So true.

  • Kathy Flynn Kelly

    I love your article. I’m 62 and according to society I have had a boring life. I had boring jobs at a big company for 25 years and was fortunate to be offered an early retirement package when my daughter was 3, and basically got paid to stay home with her. I had just one child just before I turned 40 and was the oldest mom of all her friends who raised her to understand no, that her dad came before her and that I came before him and that she was loved and adored but wasn’t the center of the universe. I am religious but not Evangelical and understand that God put me here on earth not to save the world but to help save those closest to me. I try to remember that I am the face of Christ here on earth and to be kind to those who He puts into my life daily as I am only a small strand in their tapestry of life. I was also fortunate to have a second job when my daughter was older as an aide in the public school where I worked with kids who had behavior issues and autism. I feel fortunate to have had a full life that was meaningful to me and those I love. My husband and I are are total opposites but together we work, it may not be the fairy tale marriage but life isn’t a fairy tale, its real and messy and joyful and sad and fulfilling and lonely and sad and happy. Here’s to the boring, they live the best lives.

  • Bill Duncan

    Great piece Krista. Thank you!

  • Jayem

    I really love this. I have always been thinking with all the articles and talks and books on how you can be the best of yourself, how to live a fast paced life, be really sucessful, etc. But hey all I want is to be at peace and live a simple life. Sometimes I think if this is enough. This really voiced out every fiber of my thoughts. Hey, I am happy and contented where I am. Leave me alone!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • LazyFair

      Love this…. i feel exactly the same…. simple is my ultimate!

  • Frank Burton

    Beautifully written! There is too much noise in the world now, and it is good because it points us within. Everything is perfect as it is and everyone as they are.

  • Mareen Wendt

    Great article – but I would never consider this as “mediocre” (implying “less than”) – I would say: make your life extraordinary (= life ON YOUR TERMS)
    And if this means all the things you wrote: BEAUTIFUL!

    • Ariana Saraha

      On the other hand, I LOVE her use of the word mediocre. It’s tongue-in-cheek and invites me to question how I might be undervaluing myself and my life, labeling it ‘mediocre’ when in fact it is juicy with love and gardens and walks and other simple things that may fly under the radar of common ideals of success. It becomes easy in this go-getter cultural climate to wonder if not having huge ambition is a problem, if feeling mood swings is a weakness, if wanting less means I somehow think I’m worth less… But NO, what some may label mediocre is truly glorious to me.

  • LaShawn Henderson

    I love this article I choose contentment. A simplified life. I don’t have to follow the script period I can just be me and that is enough.

  • Wryter

    This is an important conversation…but I would never call living a quieter, simplified life ‘mediocre’ nor believe for a minute that I haven’t “amount[ed] to anything.” It’s funny, isn’t it, that what was the norm even 30 years ago would now be commonly deemed ‘mediocre.’ To ‘only’ be a mum, dad, wife, husband, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, friend…and yet these are the roles, the people we most treasure. I choose a quieter, slower-paced life, not only because it suits my more introverted nature, but simply because I cannot keep up with the frenzied pace of modern life and hope to also keep my sanity. I’m simply not wired to be wired. Personally, I think the most powerful thing we can do while on earth is to learn to love ourselves. We do that, and we really can change the world…even from our backyard, watching the sun go down…playing with our kids…reminiscing about the good ol’ days, when tweets were sounds coming from treetops and liking something usually came with rainbow sprinkles! <3

  • Derek Dohren

    Irrespective of the quibbling over the use of the word ‘mediocre’ the writer sounds like my definition of a person who has worked out life’s fundamentals. “Before enlightenment I chopped wood and carried water. After enlightenment I chopped wood and carried water.”

    • LazyFair

      Writers usually do that…. write about their stuff, their opinions and their take…..

  • Patricia Pearl

    Like cool waters to a thirsty heart. Thank you.

  • Mohini

    Great article despite the confusing and misjudging title. I would never call this kind of life’s aspiration “mediocre” but rather “simple” or, uncomplicated.
    In India we say “simple is BEAUTIFUL”. It’s the social-political systems of the world who made life complicated, competitive in order to make people loose the sovereignty of their life. But human original nature is basically simple and peaceful.

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